American Documentary Filmmaking in the Digital Age: by Lucia Ricciardelli

By Lucia Ricciardelli

American Documentary Filmmaking within the electronic Age examines the hot demanding situations to the conventions of realist documentary in the course of the lens of battle documentary motion pictures via Ken Burns, Michael Moore, and Errol Morris. in the course of the 20th century, the discovery of latest applied sciences of audiovisual illustration akin to cinema, tv, video, and electronic media have remodeled the modes of historic narration and with it pressured historians to evaluate the effect of recent visible applied sciences at the building of historical past. This e-book investigates the style during which this modern Western "crisis" in historic narrative is produced via a bigger epistemological shift in visible tradition. Ricciardelli makes use of the subject of struggle as depicted in those administrators’ movies to concentration her examine and examine the model(s) of nationwide id that Burns, Morris, and Moore form via their depictions folks army activities. She examines how postcolonial reviews of historicism and the arrival of digitization have affected the narrative constitution of documentary movie and the shaping of historic cognizance via cinematic illustration.

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47 More importantly, in stressing images of testimony, often from the perspective of minority groups, participatory documentarians openly acknowledge the importance of localized knowledge in the search for historical truths. The participatory approach thus aligns itself with the counter-realist tradition because it focuses on individual interpretations of larger societal issues and discards the masternarratives offered by the expository mode in favor of micronarratives that emphasize differences over similarities, dissent over consensus (see Chapter 7, this volume).

Winston, Claiming the Real, 31. 32. Ibid, 35–36. 33. Bill Nichols, Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary (Indiana University Press, 1991). 34. Roland Barthes, “Rhetoric of the Image,” in Image-Music-Text (New York: Hill and Wang, 1977). 35. In the 1950s, American documentary filmmakers struggled to develop quiet cameras that could be used with portable tape-recorders to record synchronous sound on location. The Direct Cinema movement was born out of these technical advances.

Concomitantly, the challenges posed by the Great Depression also created a demand for films that could inform viewers of America’s complex sociopolitical and financial issues and provide possible solutions 22 The Realist Documentary Tradition to these problems. Hollywood cinema’s entertaining value was not suited to address such matters adequately. Therefore, following the example of filmmakers such as Edward S. Curtis (In the Land of the Head Hunters, 1914; Seeing America, 1916) and Robert J. , Jacob Riis; Lewis Hine), the US film industry, often in conjunction with the government, began to produce nonfiction films that tackled various social issues.

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